Week3b – A5 – Cox

Cox (2006), Vicarious learning, case-based teaching and educational ICT

Vicarious Learning –  This occurs when one person sees another person positively reinforced or punished for a behaviour.Example of case-based teaching – PATSy – System were technologies such as web-databases of video clips provide a means for storing, indexing and disseminating such resources. 

1.  Can you see all three of the categories you have been working with as relevant to this use of ICT; i.e. acquisition, participation and personal/identity change?

 ” VL ideas can also be applied in educational ICT contexts. Mayes (1995) proposed a 3-stage learning model, with different types of courseware associated with each stage. In the first stage expository material is absorbed and conceptualised eg. from educational multimedia or web pages. In the second stage interactive learning environments such as simulations support activity and mental reconstruction of the material. A third stage involves discussions with peers and tutors about issues that have arisen during stage 1 or 2 activities.” pg4 

“Students are often not used to explaining their thinking and identifying areas in which they are uncertain. The use of Task Directed Discussions is expected to reduce this tendency and encourage other-directed explanations and knowledge co-construction that is of educational benefit to the participants – ie. rich pedagogical outcomes rather than simply conveying goals attained or performance levels reached”pg9

2.  Does this example of technology-enhanced learning constitute an example of a hybridisation of the categories and assumptions that historically have been drawn on to understand learning – a mixing of categories and a development of new combinations?

Through the use of the PATSy system, the student is learning through actively ‘curing’ virtual patients thus increasing his own experience in different scenarios which otherwise would be difficult to apprehend. In the article this is called case-based teaching and learning.Cox mentiones that “the point of this is to require students to use bottom-up hypothetico-deductive modes of reasoning rather than to use the heterogeneous mix of bottom-up, top-down, and case-based reasoning that expert clinicians use.”pg 5 Moroever the logs generated during the time that the student is using the system will help for further discussions with the tutor.

 “Taken together, PATSy’s features embody all three of Mayes’ (1995) learning model stages – exposition, interactive simulation, and educational dialogue.”pg6 


Using the activity theory framework, comment on the division of labour in the PATSy activity system, incorporating the vicarious learning resources as well as the case studies.

  1. Who takes on the role of teacher?
  2. Where are the learners located?
  3. Are they only subjects or are they also present within the wider community?

Similarly, you may also recognise that tools are embedded within the community as well as used by the subject (i.e. the student). They are involved in the division of labour that surrounds both medical diagnosis (e.g. the patient tests) and the teaching of diagnosis (the cases held within the PATSy system).




In the model proposed by Mayes, there is a clear learning process involving both AM and PM.

I think that in the PATSy system the AM and PM usage is blurred. Am not sure where the online identity is …


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